In November, high levels of domoic acid, a neurotoxin, led health agencies to shut down the Dungeness and rock crab fisheries statewide. The toxin is a byproduct of an alga that can accumulate in shellfish and make people sick.
The California Department of Public Health says tests show levels of domoic acid have declined in crabs caught along California's southern and Central Coast.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has lifted the ban for recreational rock and Dungeness crab fisheries in San Luis Obispo County and points south. Commercial rock crab fisheries in the same areas are also open.
The advisory remains in effect for counties in the north part of the state.
State agencies are still warning consumers not to eat the guts of the crabs or cook them whole for soups, stews, or sauces.
In mild doses, domoic acid causes gastrointestinal illness and in rare cases may be fatal.